“The only way I see us injuries, but we don’t want Brown said. “The kids in. We’re going to stay on coaches, we’re enthusiastic we want to be here. They Brown said Monessen on the schedule when he in the early 1990s. He coached Duquesne for 16 years, served coach at South Allegheny at West Mifflin.
“Football and basketball,”with Monessen, “they toughest competition. We to that level again.”
Rumors already have done programs at Jeannette forfeits and shortened seasons at all — ramped up as the But the teams believe “It’s really a one-day-at-“The kids here are really the time. They want to give it all we have until the giving up on them.”
Monessen athletic director said the numbers during signs of improvement over “Coach Brown is doing on doors and trying to Naccarato said. “The problem schools is when one or can be in trouble. We’re taking Last year, Monessen had games because it could and 15 players.
Safety became the talking or overused players territory. They were one Then-coach Shane Swope early in the season but which played “The first thing I did let the kids know I am here around,” Brown said. “We who didn’t come out yet,about it. I want the kids weight room.”
This is not the first time low roster numbers, and last. Schools have been recently and came out stories to tell and optimism Take Avella, an opponent Monessen in recent years.10 players several years to asking cheerleaders to Northgate, Mapletown,16 UPHILL BATTLE
Roster defections leave once-proud programs
in Jeannette, Monessen searching for answers
by bILL bECKNER JR.
Jeannette’s case has become the talk of the
WPIAL as the program with the most wins in
league history (766) — the fifth-most in the state
— tries to move on after losing at least eight
transfers, most of whom were slated to start or
play key roles.
It was like an antique piece of Jeannette Glass
falling off the shelf and shattering into pieces.
The defending WPIAL champion Jayhawks,
who finished runners-up in the state, saw around
20-25 players at summer workouts, a number that
could dwindle as the regular season approaches.
And to think the team had nearly 50 players to
start the 2017 season. Last year, it had around 35.
“Heck, in 2007 we had over 60 kids,” Jeannette
coach Roy Hall said.
The Jayhawks not being able to field a team
seems like some kind of nasty prank to Hall and
his staff. It’s unthinkable.
The defections are as baffling as they are disappointing.
But the team is moving on with what it
has, clenching the wheel tightly with a lead foot
on the brakes.
“I still can’t fathom this,” Hall said. “It’s like I
won’t believe it until I see them take the field.”
Hall said this will be his last season as coach.
This will be his 13th season as head coach and
37th with the program.
He is 115-27 with two WPIAL titles and a PIAA
“What is crazy is that all those kids that left
were part of a WPIAL championship and PIAA
runner-up,” Jeannette athletic director Adrian
Batts said. “If they stay here, you know they’re
going to have a chance to compete for a championship.
They might not get that chance at other
places. I don’t get it.”
Jeannette’s transfers included sophomore
quarterback Brad Birch and senior receiver/
defensive back Brett Birch to Gateway, senior
Taishaun Jamison and juniors Ryan Kimmel and
Jaydin Canady to Greensburg Central Catholic,
junior Eli Binakonsky to Hempfield and junior
Louis Callaway to Woodland Hills.
Another junior, Basil Wilson, moved to Texas.
Monessen, an 0-7 team last year that could not
add to its 672 wins, was around the same number
of players as Jeannette, but new coach Wade
Brown doesn’t expect to see players quit.
• SUNDAY, AUGUST 22, 2021 • TRIB TOTAL MEDIA Jeannette and Monessen have a lot in common.
They are small towns that are getting smaller. Both have seen a slow but steady decline in population since the turn of the
Industrial growth has dwindled, and change has been met with a stiff arm as they forge ahead with an old-school approach.
The towns’ high schools also share similarities, like this one: They are fighting a decline in football participation — albeit for
Proud Class A programs that began in the early 1900s and have hundreds of wins, dozens of playoff trips and multiple WPIAL
championships between them, they could be facing an uphill battle with undermanned teams this fall.
CHRISTOPHER HORNER | TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Jeannette coach Roy Hall enters his 37th season with the program, which has seen dwindling roster
numbers the past few years.